If you've missed the postings on Binder Planet and the Triple Diamond email list, a new Pinelands Spring 2009 video has been posted. This is the first video I've done with the new iMovie. Seems to work pretty well, but it's a bit harder to do precise editing, especially with soundtracks. I'll start thinking about the Fall video here shortly.
Today I took the plow motor off the pump unit to see if I couldn't get it going. Boy was it crappy inside. Clearly water got in at some point. But it actually cleaned up nicely. I had to resolder one of the brushes back on and the brush mounting plate broke, but was able to wedge it back in place. Got it all cleaned up as best I could, put it back together and bench tested it... Voila! it works! Now to take it apart again, lube, reassemble and put back on the pump. Still think that one of the solenoids is bad, but hopefully, this will keep the unit from being a boat anchor.
Happy Holidays everyone. It's a white Christmas around here for once. I had the pleasure of driving both of my beasties around in the snow last weekend. Got Heavy D off the street and up on the knoll next to the house. Made for a nice picture when the sun came up on Sunday:
A fixed plow seems to work just fine is these here parts. I just have to use a Hi-Lift to jack up the blade and the hydraulics will hold it lifted about 6". Then lower as needed (the one servo that works on the unit). No power angle, but a little bump into a tree or curb can be used to make adjustments to the angle. :-)
Did a few passes around the neighborhood and a pretty thorough job in front of my place and my neighbor's. Worked great. How much fun can I have if I get that pump fixed.
We got 23" here in Columbia. I hear that's about the most in the state. My back will surely feel it tomorrow.
I just had to get back out there and try to get this plow working. There is just too much snow coming to not. Brian H happened by while I was tinkering and we took apart the plow motor. What a mess. Might be able to get away with new brushes. Diagnostics also point to a bad solenoid. That part is available for about $25 if it is just the solenoid. Starts to get expensive if it's also the valve, or more than one solenoid. I'm just going to have to make due with no hydraulics.
Well, I *finally* got the plow on the truck and tried to figure out the wiring. Actually, the wiring was pretty straight forward, but all the ends needed a lot of cleaning. Got it all hooked up. Nothing. Dang. went back and recleaned the terminals. Nothing. Only one switch activated the solenoid and only in one direction and no voltage out the other side. Clean the switch contacts again. No better. Swap on a solenoid from Heavy D. No better. Go to NAPA and buy an Optima Red Top and a new solenoid. OK, now we're getting somewhere. The solenoid clicks in every direction. But still no movement of the plow. And what's that? smoke from the motor every time I activate it. Doh! Check the oil level. It's low, so I top it off. Pull the motor off and sure enough, it's frozen tight. A little PB B'Laster and creative use of a screwdriver as a lever and I broke it free. Put it back on and voila, the motors turns. But still no movement of the plow blade. Nothing. It's not even trying. Hmmm...
Next thing to check is the magnetism of the valve solenoids. I'm sure the system could use a good flush too. But alas, it's now dark out and I might have to wait until morning (by when there is supposed to be a few inches on the ground). :-(
Probably the biggest storm we'll have for a few years and I won't be able to play with my plow. Of course, I seriously doubt that inoperative hydraulics will keep me from trying.
Now that I have this shiny new iMac, I'm having to learn a new video package. What better way to learn iMovie that on that Spring Pinelands video I've been neglecting for so long. I built a sound track in GarageBand and have most of the clips and stills in place. Just need a few more hours to finish it up... then on to the Fall video.
So, I haven't yet gotten that plow on. Good thing the snow last Saturday didn't require it. I did manage to get my hands dirty on a Scout this past weekend, though. Brian H and I went over to Bill D's place to check out his leaky water pump/overheating problem on Peer Pressure. We pulled the water pump and it looked brand spanking new, but had nary a sign of gasket anywhere. So on with a new gasket and put the pump back in place, along with a fan shroud for good measure. Since PP has a body lift, Bill's gonna need to fab up some mounting points to keep it centered on the fan.
Don't think that the water pump was the source of the overheating issue. Shroud should help, but suspect that the thermostat may be at fault. That will be the next thing to check once he gets the shroud on an runs it around a bit.
They are calling for a chance of snow again on Saturday, so need to get cracking on that plow wiring...
The Aussie Locker arrived today. Man, that was fast. The box is smaller than I thought it would be, but everything looks right. They recommend new thrust washers, so I am goig to hunt down a set. Better safe than sorry. Can't wait to get it in, but I need to get the plow wired and tested first.
Picked up a plow for Hanky from Carl B. A few weeks ago. Last week Brian H. helped me mount the frame. Need to figure out the wiring, put some emery cloth to the pistons and get the blade mounted up to test. Bring on the snow. I'm ready.
Tonight I got the coil and condensor in and buttoned down, put in a new g fuel filter for good measure and filled the radiator. Fired it up and it sounds good. Need to tighten up the heater hoses. They are dripping a little.
Next comes bolting down the top, Waxoiling the new rocker and a few odds and ends. Also need to get up to get the mudders. Is there enough week left?
Was a little (or a lot) distracted this week, but got down to assembly today and got Hanky back together, save the condenser that I broke (but my bro brought me a spare this afternoon) and the coil bracket, for which I misplaced the screw that tightens it up. Otherwise, all I need to do is fill up the radiator and give it a whirl. I was going to replace all the vacuum lines, but I just wanted to get it back together, so I'll have to do that later. I did replace the heater hoses, though.
Looks a little odd having ugly, mud covered stuff I didn't replace or clean juxtaposed against the shiny clean valley pan and intake manifold. But therein lies the contradiction that is Mr. Hanky.
Not much to say about Hanky this week. I did manage to clean and paint the valley pan and the underside of the intake manifold. Tomorrow I'll paint the top side and hopefully get it installed and get Hanky back on the road.
Tonight I took Heavy D on a mission to pick up a Meyers power angle plow for the Scout. Carl B. had just what I was looking for and with a little help from his bobcat, we had it loaded up lickety split. I'll probably put it on the Scout some time after Pinelands.
The left front brake on Heavy D has been making noise lately and it got pretty bad tonight. We looked at it and it seems like one of the pistons in the caliper is frozen. Gonna have to check that out, but might not get to it until after Pineys.
I really need to take a trip up to my mother's place to get the mudders off of old #3 this weekend too. All the more reason to get Hanky finished.
Today was all about getting the oil leak fixed. Picked up valley pan and intake gaskets from Allan yesterday, so I was ready to go today. Of course, it took most of my time getting the dirt and grime away from the bolt heads so I could get the manifold off. Yowza, there was a lot of stuff in there.
Once the manifold was off, time to take off the valley pan. Some of the bolts were so loose, I probably could have turned them by hand. No wonder it was leaking. The gasket was dry and cracked too. Once off, I scraped off a few pounds of grime and then hit them both with the steam cleaner. Still more to do before I give them a coat of paint and reinstall, but progress.
I think that I'll change out all the vacuum and heater hoses while I have it halfway apart. Might not be a bad time to install the Pertronix, too.
If you look closely, you will notice that one of the valve covers has been painted not too long ago and the other not.
Today was spent with Bro T getting his Scout back on the road. It's been, oh, about a year and a half since it last ran. It died on his way to work one day. We towed it home and haven't messed with it much since.
But today was the day. He got a fresh battery for it, so we primed the carb to see what would happen. It would pop off occasionally, but not much else. So, we pulled the cap and plugs and cleaned 'em up. We also ran the fuel pump to a gas can in case the lines were fouled or varnished with old gas. That seemed to work, we got it to fire and idle nicely. After a bit, the upper radiator hose collapsed, so we shut it down and went inside for lunch while it cooled down enough to open the radiator.
Happily sated with pizza, we went back out and sure enough, the radiator was darned near empty. So we filled her up with new juice and tried again. Doesn't want to start. Hmmm. Well, why don't we swap out the coil. Did that and it fired right up. No sign of a radiator leak while running, but there are signs it had one on the passenger side at one time. We'll have to keep an eye on it.
Got it rolling and pulled it out into the back yard for a photo shoot. Nice to see it moving again. Now we just need to clean it up and assess the bodywork needs (hood, windshield frame, drivers rockers, front body mounts, fenders, quarters...).
Nats was great, as always. Good people, great trucks, found a few parts, walked 'til my feet were sore. But I had to leave early, so I haven't heard who won what.
Left the party at 8:45 PM and drove straight through; got home at 5:20 AM. Made four stops to top of fuel and check the oil. Used two quarts on the way home. At one of the stops I noticed that oil was pooled up front by the distributor, too. Methinks that I'm going to have to pull the intake and replace the valley pan gasket. Oofdah. One more thing to do before Pinelands next month. I also noticed that the left front caliper started to sound like it is dragging a little bit. Will have to check that out too. It's always something. But, at least Hanky got me home without incident, as usual.
Hanky hit a major milestone on the way home - 100,000 miles. Did it while cruising at 65 mph at 2:30 in the morning. Congrats Hanky, I hope there is another 100k in ya.
Checked the oil level this morning wouldn't you know it, it's just the same as it was 120 miles ago. After the purge of the previous 300, I thought for sure I'd be down a quart or more. It definitely marked its territory on the pavement at the hotel, from several places so who knows where it's coming from. The top of the valley pan was pretty wet last night at the 300 mile mark, but less so this morning. Will have to check it again when I reach Springfield.
I think the EPA is on my trail. Shouldn't be too hard to find me given how much oil I left on the highway on the way to Columbus this evening. Five quarts in the first 300 miles, to be exact. No, really.
The dang thing hasn't dropped hardly anything in the shop in the past year and now it decides it wants to be a crude Niagara! I didn't check the dipstick when I got to the hotel, so we'll see how much I dropped in the last 120 miles.
I knew I was leaking some by the spray on the rear window (sound familiar Alan?), but dang. Time to find a Wally World so I have enough to get me home.
Just about ready to head to Nats. Yesterday, I took the top off (using new top hanging system in the garage), installed the passenger seat and seatbelt, swapped alternators, got the steering wheel almost straight (almost), washed out the bed and wheels, put the steering column collar back on and screwed down the dash face, reinstalled the antenna in the fender, went for a drive.
Today I topped off the gas, put the top back on, put on the new seat covers, vacuumed out the interior and the speaker boxes, no-ox'ed the battery terminals, packed up tools and fluids, and even tried Alan's Wax-oyl rust proofing. I think I'll need to heat it a but cuz it was pretty thick and wouldn't spray. It more or less oozed. ;-)
Still need to drill the floor and install the console and fiddle with the license plate light socket that doesn't want too stay lit.
There is probably something else I need to do that I'm forgetting, but I need a break. Time to lay down and watch the US Open for a while.
Didn't get much done on the Scout today, though last night I put some eye bolts in the ceiling of the garage to lift the top off. Tomorrow, I'll get back at it, to get it ready for Nats: install passenger seat and seatbelt re-align steering wheel replace alternator skim coat the quarter patch with Bondo check and fill all the fluids. I'm sure I'm forgetting something.
The distraction today was getting another parts Scout hauled down to Alan's shop with Alan and Brian. Mission accomplish. Sorting the all the extra parts inventory will come later.
Got a call from Carl B just as I was finishing up my work tasks before taking early leave today. Seems he still had some Pinelands swamp water in his transmission and it finally decided it wanted to make his tranny stop working. He picked a good spot, just a mile from my house. So, I piled a few tools, drain pan and whatnot in Heavy D and headed over. Sure enough, he had Yoohoo in his tranny. The Advance had a filter on the shelf, so a quick drain, filter and refill and he was on his merry way! (well, relatively quick, we didn't rush it).
Got home a little earlier than usual and didn't go climbing tonight, so I decided to unpack all the parts in the back of the Scout. Pulled out a complete dual exhaust, less the head pipe on the passenger side, one inner fender, the back half of a quarter panel including end cap, stick welder, spot welder attachment, box of miscellaneous fluids, emergency bag (tire iron, air pump, coveralls, etc.), used a-pillar with door hinges and a 31" tire and wheel. I left the passenger seat in (though it's behind the driver's seat, not bolt down where it should be). Found places for most of that crap elsewhere in the garage, then put the grill back on. I'm just about ready to drive it around. Still need to finish the job on the work I've been doing, but at least I can drive it if I feel like it.
Oh, and I pulled up the rest of the carpet on the tranny hump. They sure used plenty of glue to keep that stuff in place. It's amazing how much mud that thin carpet can hold. I should have been wearing a dust mask. :-P
Hanky saw the sun today! I managed to get the new battery cables in, the body mounts all tightened up, the lower rad hose tightened and radiator filled. Primed the carb and after a few tries, vroooooommmm! Then pulled it out of the garage and put the 32" tires on.
Took it for a ride around the neighborhood and quickly realized that I made one error when installing the Borgeson - I didn't square up the steering wheel, so it's about 30* out of phase, which also boogers up the turn signals. Gonna have to fix that, along with a myriad of other little things that need finishing, like:
finishing the weld at the back edge of the outer rocker and hitting it with POR-15, welding a small piece into the toe board to fill a small gap, installing (welding) the rear gusset. Then hitting the old part of the floor with the wire brush to get off the carpet glue, then put in some bed liner.
It wanders a little more than I remember, but that might be part of getting used to the Borgeson. Still gets up and goes like a banshee, though. I'll have to dig out an old photo to do a before and after, but for now, here is how it sits today:
Got some time in the garage this morning after taking Heavy D on a dump run (ran great, by the way, but the master cylinder is leaking).
Anyway, put my nose to the grind stone and made some real progress. I finished up reconstructing the B pillar dog leg. Welded in one piece on the inside and formed another to finish off the outside. Then I got the skin of the quarter lined up and welded on. It still needs some work along the bottom, it just isn't long enough to line up with the bottom of the rocker, so I'll need to fab up a little extension and weld it on. Not bad for a day's work. I'm psyched.
The boys will have to get the rest of their Scout parts without me tomorrow, I'm on a roll and want to get this beast out of the garage tomorrow. Just need to put in the new battery cables, tighten down the body mounts and put a few more finishing welds here and there. Should be able to get that much done before lunch (yeah, well we'll see).
Hooked up with BD, BT, BH and ASJ to pick up a parts Scout and a boat load (er truck load) of parts. The boys scored a good deal on this one. Everyone should get a little something and sell the rest for profit. Picked up the haul in Finksburg and trucked it down to the shop in Beltsville. And not a mark on BT's truck this time! :-) Still more to get, so the boys are going to have to make a return trip to pick up the rest...
...but alas, no work on Hanky this weekend. But, I did sort out the ignition problem on Heavy D, it was just the bypass lead come undone from the starter solenoid.
No work on Hanky lately. The garage has been inundated with boxes from my office move. Gotta get that crap outta there so I can finish. Of course, if the welder set them on fire, that would be fewer files I'd have to sort through. Nah, might set the Stude on fire too.
Anyway, not work on the Scout, so I turned my attention to Heavy D. If you recall from my last post, there was a minor issue with the clutch. Hoping that little elves fixed it for me since my last attempt, I happily went out to start it up today. No such luck. Clutch still stuck. After a quick cleaning of the terminals it did start right up, but no go in gear-o. So, pop off the access panel on the tranny and see what's doing. Had Diane push the clutch while I had a gander (what a sport she is). Clutch linkage moves fine, clutch still not releasing. Time for my old friend PB B'Laster. Oh yeah. Soaked it but good and let it sit a while.
Brian H stopped by to return some tools, so I figure I'll show him the starting issue (did I mention that? it only starts when I *release* the keey after cranking - deal with that later). Anyway, I crank it in gear - and yes I can move the truck on the starter in 1st or 2nd gear. Then I start it up in neutral. Still no go. Pump the clutch a few time and *POP*. There it goes! Free, baby, I'm free. Just to be sure I drive it forward, then back it back up. Whoohoo!
Earlier this week I had a bit of spare time one evening, so I started welding in the new bits that will makeup the recontructed b-pillar. Went pretty well.
Then there was today. It started off bad and got worse. Actually, it started getting bad yesterday. You see, the plan was to take the 200 to get the last of my stuff from my office. But a migraine threw a wrench into those plans, so plan b was to do it today.
So I get up at 7 or so, diddle around on the computer for a while, then figured it was time to get going at about 9. Got the truck loaded with my boxes, dolly and straps, hop in turn the key and click, click. Crap. OK, I'm prepared for this. Got out the charger, let it juice up for 15 minutes or so and it springs to life no problem. As I'm taking off the charger, I can hear that noise again that started at Pineys. Sounds like a cracked header or blown gasket. I'll have to check into that one of these days, but I digress.
So I hop back in, ready to roll and it won't go into gear. Any gear. Push the clutch in and out. Stiff as ever. Nothing. So I'm trying every gear and finally it slips into reverse and the truck lurches backwards.
Now this is were a frustrating morning turns ugly. It just so happens that my father-in-law goes to church with Diane the third Sunday every month. And he parks his Jaguar right behind my truck. Getting the picture yet? Before I can get the truck out of gear, the twin tailpipes (the lowest thing back there) make a couple of nice marks on that pretty little Jag's nose. Oofdah. I managed to re park the thing by jamming into gear and shut it down.
I don't have time for clutch trouble. So I end up making one trip with the crossfire and one with Diane's CRV.
Thankfully, not a mark on Heavy D. :-) But diagnosing the problem is going to have to wait. I just hope my checkbook can absorb the bill to fix the Jag.
And this all because of a migraine. I hate migraines.
Had a few minutes to spare on Sunday night, so I figured I'd try to get the Borgeson installed. I had heard that it helped to unbolt the steering box, but found that wasn't necessary at all. All I did was unbolt the steering column at the dash and pull it in as far as it would go easily (less than an inch). Then slipped the upper joint onto the column as far as it would go, past it's stop. I figured that I would need about inch of clearance to get the intermediate shaft into the joints and this was more than enough. I slipped it on just as easy as you please, tightened everything up and it's ready to go. Took less than half an hour. So, with the time I still had I refilled the radiator. Should be ready to drive now if needed. I hope to finish up the welding this weekend. Woohoo! Getting close!
Had big plans to install the Borgeson today. Had the upper u-joint removed and the retaining bolt on the rag joint. Slipped the rag off no problem, just a few taps with a hammer on a pry bar and voila. The upper borgeson slipped on equally as easily. Then came the lower. Turns out that I have one of them thar 13/16" 36 spline steering shafts and my borgeson is a 3/4" 30. Oops. Like 80% of all Scouts have the 3/4" 30, but no, not mine. That's what I get for buying the kit second hand years before I plan to install it. Found the right one on eBay for $71 delivered, so it's on its way.
Progress, real progress! The floor is in! As expected, the finishing seems to go a whole lot faster than the prep. I ended up using flux core to weld in the stringers, seam sealed the edges of Friday, then welded in the floor on Saturday. Everything went very well. There are a few fitment issues that I need to address, but I don't think that it will be noticeable once the bed liner is on and the seat installed. I also drained the radiator and started in on the Borgeson install by removing the old steering linkage. Need to get the rag joint end off the steering box. Haven't looked at it hard enough to see how it comes off, so any inside knowledge appreciated before I bust a few knuckles doing that part.
Once the borgeson is in, the radiator buttoned back up and the mounts tightened, it will be a roller. I'll just have the bottom of the quarter panel and rear dog leg to finish up. I'm getting ansty to drive it again.
Don't let the look of the trans hump and rest of the floor fool you, what you see is the combination of the original terra cotta brown color and the residual glue from the carpet. That will be wire brushed off and bed lined along with the rest of the floor.
This morning I ground down some rough edges, seam sealed the stringers and some other miscellaneous spots, drilled the floor for the front mount bolt, got everything lined up and ready to weld. Time to get some food and then get back at it.
So I took the Mig gas cylinder with me to work, fully intending to run over to Robert's at lunch. At quarter to 5, I realize that I hadn't done it. Hmmm, can I get to Caton Ave. from Ellicott City in 15 minutes in rush hour traffic? Not likely. So, on to Plan B - revert the welder to flux core.
So, that's what I did last night - and got the stringers welded in. Went very well, actually. Got 'em in and gave all the remaining bare metal a coat of POR-15. The plan for today is to get the floor in place.
Last night I got the floor stringers sized up and lined up. The rear stringer was much too short, so I have to make a creative bend in the inner leg to span the gap. It'll work. Too bad I didn't remember the old addage measuer twice, cut once, 'cuz I cut one of the intermediate stringers too short. It fits, but had to unbend the tabs on one end and will have to butt weld it on that side. Oh well, it'll work just fine.
Now all I need is some gas for the Mig, so I can weld the buggers in.
Progress at last... Yesterday I got the wedge and front mount welded in (see previous post about welding skills). Today, I ground down the weld a bit to see how bad I did and it looks solid if not pretty. But... dummy me forgot to close off the gas when I was done and, you guessed it, my whole bottle of gas leaked down. Doh! I needed to put a few tack welds to bind the inner to the outer a bit better, so just did it without the gas. Spit, spat, sputter, but it worked for the little bit I needed. I'll have to put the flux core back in until I get the gas refilled.
Its getting close! and it's now sitting on four wheels with no jack stands under the body.
So I haven't done squat on the Scout since Pinelands. I did manage to put in a new pinion seal in the 200 last weekend. Good thing too. It was leaking progressively worse and marking the street like an incontinent dog. Anyway, the whole deal took about an hour. The old seal popped out with a screw driver lickety split and the new one went in no problemo. The oil in the diff is a milky sand color. eeeeeewwwwwww. Gonna have to open up the cover and thoroughly drain and flush that bad boy. Gotta remember to do that before I try driving in 4 again.
On the previous weekend I took a load of brush to the dump with it and just for kicks stopped on the scale on my way out. The lady's response when I asked was "That thing'll cost you a fortune, it's a damned International." I think that she was referring to cost if I was commercial. Anyway, she checks it... 6360#! That's with about 400# of sand bags in the back, but still. Hooooaaaaah. That's one heavy truck. 'Heavy D' is a very appropriate name!
That my welding skills suck? Yeah, well they do. My grinder is my friend. If at first you don't succeed, grind it off and try again.
I did makes progress this weekend, but not enough to have Hanky done for Pinelands. Oh well. Heavy D will make the trip. I still need to replace a tire and check the oil in the diffs, but I should be able to accomplish that this week.
But, back to Hanky. Imade some finish welds on the front dogleg. Trimmed the floor at the step up. Welded a new piece of metal at thfe bottom of the kick panel (one of the aforementioned sucky welds). Had to notch the front mount wedge for the body lift puck. Cut and ground out the last bit of the old mount and fit in the new one, then fit the floor over it. Damned good fit for a project that has not seen a tape measure.
If I only had one more weekend to work on it. Oh well. It's only been 9 months since I started this floor project. What's another missed deadline.
Progress at last! Mind you it is very likely that I will have to go back over a few of my welds, but I'm a pretty happy camper now that I've made some headway this weekend. On Saturday, I fit and welded in a few pieces around the B-pillar/center mount and got the outer rocker all lined up. Today, I welded on the rear extension and then welded it to the inner. My plug welding skills definitely need some work, but it held up to the stand-on-it test. I also got the rest of the sheet metal cleaned, prepped and painted with POR-15.
I'm not working out at the climbing gym this week, so that should give me three nights to do little bits and Saturday to try to get close to finished.
Still, with the stringers, front mount and floor to go in, plus installing the Borgeson, it's gonna be tought to get it ready for Pinelands in two weeks. Keep your fingers crossed.
Little by little... I did get a little work done on the Scout on Sunday, I decided to put the fender back on so I could make sure the rocker is lining up. If you've ever tried to remove or install a fender, you know you can't without taking off the door because of the tabs that wrap under the door and bolt to the A-pillar. So, I decided to cut them off. They are just in the way anyhow. I have an idea for alternate attachment points, we'll see if it works (more on that when I get to it). So, with that done, I put the fender back on and, of course, the bottom bolt holes don't line up. Everything else does, so I'm thinking that the replacement rocker stub didn't line up quite the same. So, I think that I'll just elongate the holes and all will be good. Putting the fender on also confirmed that the door isn't quite right and needs a little adjustment as well.
Lining stuff up is a pain, but better to do it now...
Slowly, very slowly. I need to spend more time on this truck. I feel like I've said that before. :-) Two weekends ago, I spent the good part of a morning with it, cutting metal pieces to weld into the B pillar. Got them all cut. Now need to do some fine tuning to fit them just so. Also got the drill press out to dril the lip on the outer rocker, so I can plug-weld it. Once I get these bits and pieces welded in, the rest should go fairly quickly.
I'm getting antsy to drive it with a solid floor and the new lift. I've been getting my fix driving Heavy D, which isn't a step down at all. Boy does that built 345 run great. If Glancy really does put on a truck pull at Nats this year, I might have to bring it out. :-)
Today I was able to tack in the inner rocker. I decided it was better to get the inner in place first so I could line up the metal I need to replace at the B pillar. I clamped on the outer to line it up with the door. I think I got it in pretty well, with a little wiggle room for some fine tuning.
I actually made it into the garage today and welded the new rocker to the salvaged front rocker extension. Didn't turn out half bad. I still need practice, but my weld held up to the 'stand on it and pray' test. I also POR-15ed the untreated portion of the rockers and cut some test pieces to fill some gaps in the mid body mount.
I also (finally) applied heat to the shrink tubing to finish off my "Ray Cass special" 0-gauge battery cables. If you don't have a pair, you should. These things are stout and virtually corrosion-proof.